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Lessons from Tom Kitten

Lessons from Tom Kitten

We are huge Beatrix Potter fans. Tom Kitten is a firm favourite with the Soldier Boy. And reading it is a little like a glimpse of modern parenthood. It’s true nothing changes under the sun. In Tom Kitten we see an exasperated mother, trying to impress her well-to-do friends; her children suffering the injustice of getting in trouble for a situation not wholly their fault (even though may modern readers may be appalled at the use of smacking!).

It’s funny that still today we behave in the same way. We still desperately try to make our domestic circumstances look good to onlookers. I have myself sent noisy children out in the garden to be out of the way, dressed in best clothes, hoping against hope they stay clean, as I get ready- and yes I did feel a pang of empathy for Mrs Tabitha Twitchit. And I think we have all realised at a later date that we have disciplined children unjustly.

But what I find so refreshing is that the struggles of modern parents: looking like we have it together, have well disciplined children, feeling the social stress to perform, have always been there. Reading through social media you could think these were modern problems. But they were as much a part of the world of Beatrix Potter as they are today. Mother’s through the ages have been stressed, have had unruly children, nothing changes- you’d think we’d learn to just relax a little. And throughout the ages children have survived their imperfect parents trying to do their best to raise their children.

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